Supporting our Researchers’ Futures

British Ecological Society   The Physiological Society logo

A 12-month programme of support for post-doctoral researchers seeking a permanent academic post. The British Ecological Society (BES) and The Physiological Society (TPS) are working together to provide support to post-doctoral researchers looking to develop a sustainable career in academia. To sign up for this, applicants must submit the form below by 23 September 2018.

Why should you apply?

Whilst postdoc positions can help to develop scientific skills and knowledge, they can cast emerging scientists in the shadow of their Principal Investigator. But with fewer permanent posts and greater competition for grant funding, the transition to scientific independence and that first permanent post can be difficult. 

An article published in Nature during 2016 suggested that “young scientists today face a harsher, more competitive, stricter, more dispiriting workplace than their bosses and senior colleagues did at the same stages of their own careers.” 

As the guardians of their disciplines, learned societies have identified a role in smoothing this transition, to allow the best scientific minds and future leaders to flourish in an open and inclusive way.

With thousands of members that have been through, are going through, or are looking to make this transition, the BES and TPS are pooling this expertise and drawing on external experts to provide advice and guidance on forging an independent scientific journey. 

What we can offer you

We are piloting a year-long support programme for 30 members looking to take the next step. The programme will include a one day workshop in London on 22 October 2018, during which we will confirm with participants a series of four webinars on specific topics to support career development over the subsequent 12 months.

We hope that by working with researchers from other disciplines, participants will feel they have a critical friend who can support with proofing CVs, applications and funding bids.

The cycle we expect to be following

Application process:    

23 September – Deadline for applications

24 September – Applicants are informed of the outcome


The workshop will take place on Monday 22 October 2018 in London. 

More details


These will take place for two hours in late January, April, July and October 2019. Topics will be determined by participants.

Who can apply?

  • You must be either a 1st or 2nd postdoc in the UK, or a recent returner to academia, and have the support of one of the following: your supervisor / department head / an alternative departmental coordinator / a colleague.  
  • You should have less than 18 months on your current contract and must be a member of either TPS or BES.
  • You will need to agree to monitoring and impact for three years afterwards. 

Supporting greater diversity in academia:

We are particularly interested in underrepresented groups within academia but all members who feel they would benefit from participating are encouraged to apply.

Our commitment to you

We have developed this pilot programme specifically to meet the needs of members who have highlighted the specific challenges they face as post-doctoral researchers and we hope it supports progression to more permanent roles. However, all researchers are different and throughout this process we will listen and adapt as much as we can to accommodate the needs of participants. To enable participants to develop a more bespoke programme of support, we have embedded within the early stages of the programme opportunities to inform the development of the webinars and mentoring.

The commitment we are asking of you

To be effective, we ask all participants to:

  • respect each other’s rights to privacy and confidentiality throughout this process.  
  • be willing to support each other’s professional development without judgement or prejudice.
  • accept that if their application is successful, they are undertaking a 12-month programme within which we ask everyone to contribute to providing peer support as much as they feel able to do so.

Apply here

Please submit your application by 23 September 2018. 

Please email any queries to